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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Clubhouse, a San Francisco-based audio social network, raised around $100 million led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion post-money valuation, Axios has learned. The deal was publicly announced, but the dollar details were not.

Why it matters: The startup says it had two million users last week, despite having launched less than a year ago and keeping a very tight handle on new invites until quite recently. It also now plans to launch a program to monetize creators, which could both increase usage and open up Clubhouse's own revenue spigot.

Details: Clubhouse says it now has "over 180 investors.” That sounds like startup cap table hell, but word is that most of those backers fit on a single line via a zero-fee SPV.

The bottom line: This is a very high-risk/high-reward bet.

  • The risk is that the audio boom is being artificially inflated by the stay-at-home pandemic, and that Andreessen Horowitz's confidence is colored by some of its partners' own addictions to using Clubhouse.
  • The reward is that this is the next evolution of social networking, and that Andreessen Horowitz just preempted other investors like Sequoia Capital once did with WhatsApp.

Go deeper

Jan 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

Audio messaging platform Yac raises $7.5M Series A

Yac

Yac, an online voice messaging platform, has raised $7.5 million in venture funding led by GGV Capital and the Slack Fund, which funded the app last year.

Why it matters: Yac helps companies integrate audio messaging into their workflow. It launched at the beginning of the pandemic and has benefitted enormously from companies needed improved communication during remote work.

Why companies aren't paying more

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If companies raised pay high enough, then maybe they wouldn’t complain about labor shortages that have forced them to forgo sales. But there seems to be a limit to how much a company is willing to pay, despite what seems like a clear opportunity to maximize the top line.

Why it matters: Companies have been scrambling to staff up amid a rapid economic recovery. Employers across industries have been raising wages in their efforts to be competitive.

Business travel might be going out of style

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Companies have made it a year and a half mostly without traveling for work — and now more and more of them are considering dramatically reducing business travel to slash costs and cut carbon emissions.

Why it matters: Business travel is a massive part of the global economy — with trillions of dollars and millions of jobs at airlines, hotels and travel agencies hinging on its return.